This past month, an Indiana woman in her 30s died unexpectedly and became an organ, tissue and cornea donor. In addition to saving four lives through heart, liver, kidney and lung donation and healing many others through tissue and cornea donation, she also became Indiana’s first-ever uterus donor.
Soon after the first donation, a woman in her 40s became the second-ever Indiana woman to donate her uterus after death. She was also able to save lives through heart, liver, lung and kidney donation.
To protect donor and recipient confidentiality, and due to the limited number of uterus transplants that take place, the names of the donors, the receiving transplant center and the specific dates of the recoveries will remain confidential.
The first recovery surgery took place at Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne and the second recovery surgery took place at IU Health Methodist Hospital.
Both donors are survived by their husbands and children.
The first donor’s husband told Indiana Donor Network staff that about a month ago, his wife had told him that she would want to be a donor if she was able to do so. Her donation decision has created hope and healing for four recipients of lifesaving organ transplants, up to 75 people who will receive her tissue and corneas and one woman who is receiving her uterus.
The second donor’s family told Indiana Donor Network that she had a loving heart and she would have been happy to know that she saved lives through organ donation and potentially helped another woman know what it is like to be a mom.
Uterine transplants are Vascularized Composite Allografts (VCAs), which involve the transplantation of multiple structures that may include skin, bone, muscles, blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. VCAs requires a specific authorization from the donor’s family, separate from a standard donor registration.
Kellie Hanner, Indiana Donor Network president and chief executive officer, stated, “These donors are true heroes and their donations are historic. We ask all Hoosiers to join us in keeping their families in our thoughts and prayers, and we sincerely thank them for their lifesaving decision to say yes to donation.”